3 Comorbid Complaints Of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis & The Medical Specialists Your Child Will Need

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According to statistics, about one in every 1,000 children develops chronic arthritis in some form. The most common type of arthritis in childhood is called juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Children diagnosed with this condition are referred to rheumatologists to help them manage their symptoms, which include fatigue, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and joint swelling, tenderness, and stiffness. However, there are several comorbid conditions that children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis typically experience, which necessitates additional referrals to other medical specialists. Here are the common comorbid conditions and the specialists your child should see after being diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. 

Eye Problems 

Uveitis, or eye inflammation, is a common comorbid condition of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Therefore, your child will need to be seen by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist on a regular basis. Most often, children with arthritis do not complain about their eyes or vision until their eyes have been damaged by uveitis which, unfortunately, usually results in cataracts, glaucoma, worsened visual acuity, or blindness, depending on the severity of the damage. 

Skin Rashes 

Another comorbid condition of juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a skin rash, so your child will need to be examined by a dermatologist. The skin rash resembles urticaria or hives except the rash is typically not itchy and usually accompanies a fever. The rash usually presents on the trunk and extremities, but can also be on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and on the face. The rash tends to migrate. Rubbing or scratching the skin tends to induce the rash. Due to the similarities of this skin rash to hives and allergic reactions, it's a good idea to have the dermatologist have a look at your child's skin each time they have a rash. Fortunately, there are online dermatologist visits available to make things easier. 

Abdominal Pain 

According to the National Institutes of Health, 39% of children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis complain of abdominal pain. In another study, juvenile idiopathic arthritis patients had a higher incidence rate of inflammatory bowel disease than their healthy counterparts. Types of inflammatory bowel disease includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Additionally, diarrhea is another common abdominal complaint of children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Due to the comorbidity of gastrointestinal complaints, your child should be referred to a gastroenterologist for a complete evaluation. Your child will likely need to undergo an endoscopy as well as continual blood work and stool samples.